A Late Valentine

for Jean Valentine

The Sailor cannot see the North—but knows the Needle can.
—Emily Dickinson

You set the needle down on a page
and the whole room trembled

The fireflies flashed in the periphery

The air singed as if from distant fires

Delivering the news, the shock of recognition

New depths of love that we might come to know—


That music that so enthralled you—
you held it close enough for us to hear

Now we have the shells     the casings
emptied and scattered                     strewn

along beachfronts at the end of a terrible year

To hear you now we must hold
the whole world up to our ears—

Read on . . .

As with Rosy Steps the Morn,” a poem by Jean Valentine